Disagreements over what to do with the estate of someone who has passed away, the contents of a Will or how an estate is being administered can be highly distressing and frustrating. In many cases, old resentments and other personal issues can cloud matters further, making it very challenging to see a positive way forward
Getting expert legal advice as soon as possible can make things much easier. A thorough understanding of where you stand, your legal rights and what steps you can take to resolve the dispute will put you on the first step towards achieving a fair outcome for everyone.
Our highly experienced Litigation & Dispute Resolution team have an excellent track record of dealing with contentious probate and inheritance disputes. We can quickly assess your case and cut through the legal complexities, making your position and options clear to you in plain English.
In the vast majority of cases, we are able to agree a positive outcome between the various parties, avoiding the need for court proceedings. This not only saves you time and money, it can also help to preserve important family relationships.
Book a fixed cost initial consultation with our contentious probate solicitors in Chatham
We can also offer meetings by Skype for clients who have to travel extensively or who now live abroad. In exceptional circumstances, home visits can also be arranged.
How we can help you with contentious probate
We can represent you in making or defending a claim against the estate of someone who has passed away, or in dealing with complaints against the way an estate is administered.
Our contentious probate solicitors’ expertise includes:
Disputes over whether a Will is valid
This covers challenges to the validity of a Will might including where there are concerns that:
- The Will was not prepared correctly
- There is a more recent Will that should be used instead
- The Will is fraudulent.
If a Will if found to be invalid by a court, the court will normally order one of two outcomes depending on the circumstances:
- An earlier Will should be used instead (if such a Will exists).
- The estate should be divided according to the rules of intestacy.
Exactly how long someone has to challenge the validity of a Will depends on the reason for the dispute, but it is usually easier to achieve a solution if the claim is brought before probate has been granted.
If someone wishes to dispute a Will on the grounds of fraud, there is no time limit for doing so.
Inheritance Act claims
Many inheritance disputes come about because a dependant of the deceased feels they were not sufficiently provided for in the Will. It may be that they are unhappy with the level of inheritance they have been left or that they were not provided for in the Will at all.
Under such circumstances, a dependant may be able to make a claim for ‘reasonable provision’ from the deceased’s estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
Commonly called an ‘Inheritance Act claim’, this allows the dependant to apply to a court for a bequest from the estate to meet their reasonable needs. Exactly how much someone can claim will depend on what level of support they were receiving from the deceased and/or what they could have expected to receive if the deceased were still alive.
An Inheritance Act claim will normally have to be made within 6 months of probate being granted.
Disputes over the conduct of Executors & estate administrators
This includes where there are concerns over issues such as the Executor or Estate Administrator:
- Spending money from the estate inappropriately
- Not progressing probate where there is no good reason for delay
- Not producing proper estate accounts on request
Options include applying to a court to have an Executor or Estate Administrator removed and having them replaced with a professional Executor, such as a solicitor. However, in many cases these issues can be resolved amicably with good communication and the intervention of an experienced dispute resolution expert.
Our contentious probate fees
Initial fixed fee appointment
We offer an initial appointment from £160 plus VAT to discuss the inheritance dispute you are facing and provide initial guidance on how we can help you find a positive solution.
Fixed fee advice & services
We can offer some advice and services, such as writing a solicitor’s letter, for a fixed fee. This gives you certainty over the costs involved in dealing with a probate dispute.
Hourly rates for inheritance dispute resolution
Where we need to provide ongoing support to resolve an inheritance dispute, we will work to a pre-agreed hourly rate. This allows us to provide exactly as much support as you need to resolve the matter.
Why choose Stephens & Son for contentious probate advice?
Our Litigation & Dispute Resolution team have been helping clients to find positive solutions to contentious probate disputes for many years.
We will take the time to get to know you, your concerns and your priorities, so we can offer carefully tailored advice that helps you get the outcome you need.
Using our expertise in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), we will work to achieve an amicable agreement between the various parties involved wherever possible. This can be particularly beneficial for disputes between family members where there is the potential for long-term damage to important relationships if matters are allowed to escalate.
No matter how complex or acrimonious matters have become, we can provide clear, practical guidance to help you get a fair result for your inheritance dispute.